CSMI – Project Components
The WID will manage, own, and operate the CSMI system (excluding Weed Lake), while municipalities will be users of the CSMI system as described in the executed Development, User, and Management Agreements. The CSMI Cooperative, incorporated in December 2020, will be the overarching form of governance. After the first successful year as a co-operative, CSMI held its first Annual General Meeting on May 25, 2022.
The chosen governance structure for the CSMI is a Cooperative, which reflects the collaborative nature of the project and creates a mechanism for the partners to collectively manage and operate the system. Once the system is operational, i.e., ready to receive and transfer stormwater, it will be managed and operated by the WID under the direction of the CSMI Board. Governance of the CSMI Board will include one Director from each partner organization, with each Director having one vote. The municipal partners will be users of the system, each contributing stormwater from developed land in their respective jurisdictions.
The CSMI System infrastructure (excluding Weed Lake) that collects and moves the stormwater through the CSMI region is shared and governed by the CSMI, but infrastructure that collects and treats stormwater within municipal communities will remain the responsibility of that municipality. The CSMI Stormwater Guidelines will govern the amount, quality, and timing of water that each municipality contributes to the system. This will ensure that as the water moves through the various components of the system, including some natural water bodies, meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and adheres to Best Management Practices. BMP’s include, but are not limited to, maintaining existing wetlands, creating new wetlands where feasible and appropriate, and applying riparian buffers to protect water quality.
Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA) continues to be involved with the CSMI operations discussions as an observer and advisor as it pertains to the regulatory process. It is recognized that the regulatory process for the CSMI solution is unique. This is due to the overall scale of the project, which overlaps multiple jurisdictions, involves various Acts, and requires construction of public and private infrastructure. This stormwater infrastructure will be built locally through development and onsite improvements within each municipality, and regionally throughout the rural area that overlaps with the WID.
The CSMI Partners are working toward the appropriate registrations, approvals, and licenses through ongoing discussions with AEPA. In the fall of 2021, the CSMI table representative for Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA) suggested that CSMI consider a Master Approval process for the CSMI System in order to evaluate and mitigate the cumulative impact of the CSMI system that may be overlooked by separating each stage into individual applications. This Master Approval may also help streamline future CSMI Stage provincial regulatory permits required prior to construction. The CSMI partners began preparing a Master Approval application and have a target submission in 2023.
Stormwater management facilities within each municipal boundary will require registration with the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), including local works needed to transfer water into the CSMI system. Applications for EPEA registrations will take place in parallel with the Master Water Act Approval application.
The CSMI concept has been recognized through financial contributions by:
- Royal Bank Blue Water Initiative ($85,000)
- Alberta Municipal Affairs through the Regional Collaboration Program ($250,000)
- Alberta Community Resilience Program ($7.6M between 2018-2021)
- Five participating municipalities, the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP), and the WID contributed a total of $1.17M to date
- Existing levy funding from participating municipalities
- Building Canada Fund ($2.067M between 2021-2028)
The CSMI group continues to actively seek out new funding opportunities at the local, provincial, and federal level to reduce the amount of outside funding that must be raised by the municipalities. The remaining funding requirements for capital costs of the CSMI infrastructure will be raised by municipalities applying levies on new developments. As funds are raised through these levies, future stages of the CSMI system will be built to accommodate growth and new development. It is recognized that long term sustainability of the CSMI stormwater system and a solution that truly benefits all partners equally relies on the advancement of future stages.
An off-site levy is a charge established by a municipal bylaw that is paid by developers of subdivisions, developments, and redevelopments. Municipalities collect the levy dollars and use them to help pay for municipal utility systems that directly or indirectly serve the development. Levies may be paid toward facilities such as roads, water lines/treatment/storage, sewage facilities, stormwater facilities, and other municipal services. Levies in the CSMI region will be collected by each municipality to help fund construction of future stages of the CSMI System.